01 August 2016, 09:05

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of July 25-31

Surrender to authorities of rebels who captured a police building in Yerevan; start of consideration by Moscow court of  Boris Nemtsov's murder case; death of two people in explosion at Azerbaijani military factory in the Azeri, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of July 18-24, 2016, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Rebels-capturers of police building surrender in Yerevan

Members of "Sasna Tsrer" detachment, who captured on July 17 the building of a police regiment in Yerevan, and who demanded resignation of Armenian president, formation of interim government and release of political prisoners, including their leader Zhirair (Jirair) Sefilyan, have surrendered. This was announced on July 31 at the rally in support of the rebels by Albert Bagdasaryan, a former Armenian MP. According to his story, the decision was made in order to avoid bloodshed; and Sefilyan himself called on the rebels to lay down arms. The Armenia's National Security Service (NSS) has reported the detention, in the course of the antiterrorist operation, of 20 members of the armed grouping. On July 30, the police reported a policeman killed by a rebels' sniper; and about an ultimatum to the rebels with a demand to surrender.

Let us note here that on July 27 it became known that the rebels keep, in the building of the police patrol-and-post service (PPS) regiment, members of the medical team, who came to help capturers, as hostages. All the medics were released by 31 July.

Supporters of the "Constituent Parliament", whose members captured the police building, kept hostages for a whole week. On July 29, policemen dispersed their action; and more than 100 people were taken to police stations; some journalists also suffered at the dispersal of the action. On July 31, the opposition also held a march in Yerevan.

Moscow court starts trying murder of Boris Nemtsov

On July 25, the Moscow District Military Court began hearing the case of the murder of February 27, 2015, in central Moscow of Russian politician Boris Nemtsov. The prisoners' dock contains five natives from Chechnya and Ingushetia: Zaur Dadaev, who is considered by investigators to be the killer, Anzor Gubashev, Khamzat Bakhaev, Tamerlan Eskerkhanov and Shagid Gubashev. Other figurants of the case are Chechen officers Ruslan Mukhudinov, Ruslan Geremeev and Beslan Shavanov; the latter was killed at detention. The hearings started under reinforced security measures and behind the closed doors. The case will be heard by a panel of jurors, whose selection is scheduled for August 24; this decision was made by the court took on the same day, on July 25, by satisfying the defendants' request. Relatives of Nemtsov, according to their representative, do not intend to move a compensation claim to the defendants. At the same time, representatives of the family of Boris Nemtsov moved a motion to return the case to the prosecutor's office for re-qualifying from the article of "Murder" to the article of "Attempt on the life of a public or political figure", which was rejected.

Crimea included into SFD, and NCFD changes presidential envoy

On July 28, the Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree prescribing to include the Crimean peninsula into the Southern Federal District (SFD). Vladimir Ustinov, who has been the president's plenipotentiary envoy in the SFD since May 14, 2008, was reaffirmed in his position.

On the same day, President Putin dismissed Sergey Melikov from the post of his envoy in the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD), appointing Oleg Belaventsev, who was envoy in the Crimean Federal District, in his place. In his turn, Melikov was appointed the first deputy director of the Federal Service of the National Guard Troops, the press service of the Russian presidential administration has reported.

Makhachkala bank "Credo Finance" denied license

On July 28, the Bank of Russia announced revocation of license on banking operations from the Makhachkala-based bank "Credo Finance". The reasons for the decision are declared as violations of the federal laws regulating the banking activities, a violation of the Russian Law "On Counteraction to Legalization (Laundering) of Proceeds Obtained in Criminal Way and Financing Terrorist". The Deposit Insurance Agency has reported that payment to depositors will start not later than August 11; and agent banks will be selected by August 3.

Court sentences on case of Buddha statue desecration in Elista

On July 28, the Elista City Court found Said Osmanov, a Dagestani wrestler, guilty of desecrating the statue of Buddha and inciting ethnic hatred, and sentenced him to two years of conditional imprisonment with a probation period of one year. Osmanov was detained on suspicion of the above desecration at night on April 2; he refused to plead guilty, but apologized for the obscene statement pronounced near the statue, which he did by stupidity, not knowing about the holiness, said his advocate Murad Velikhanov. According to the advocate, the verdict can be seen as "almost an acquittal", but, still, he intends to appeal against it. Osmanov has already returned to Dagestan.

Two persons killed by explosion at military factory in Azerbaijani

An explosion at the munitions factory "Araz", located in the outskirt of the Azerbaijani city of Shirvan, occurred on July 26. Two factory employees were killed; and 24 others were wounded. According to official data, the explosion occurred, when some obsolete munitions were prepared for disposal. Examinations have been appointed to establish the causes of the incident.

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